Why Democrats Are Scared of Sanders

Explainer

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Bernie Sanders
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders makes a speech in Brooklyn, New York, April 8, 2016 (Timothy Krause)

Why is the Democratic Party establishment in the United States scared of Bernie Sanders? Polls suggest the socialist from Vermont would do about as well against Donald Trump in a general election as his rival, Joe Biden.

I suspect there are three reasons:

  1. Democrats don’t trust the polls.
  2. They worry that, even if Sanders might defeat Trump, he would hurt down-ballot Democrats.
  3. They don’t want their party to be taken over by an outsider, like the Republican Party was in 2016. Read more “Why Democrats Are Scared of Sanders”

Democrats Don’t Have to Take Sanders’ Delegate Complaints Seriously

Opinion

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Democratic National Convention
Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016 (DNCC/Chris Frommann)

The New York Times asked 93 of the 771 Democratic Party officials who will be automatically seated at the convention in July — the so-called “superdelegates” — if they would vote for Bernie Sanders if the socialist emerged with a plurality, but not a majority, of the pledged delegates.

Only nine said they would.

Sanders’ supporters are predictably up in arms, arguing the party “establishment” is conspiring to overturn “the will of the people”.

Some are threatening to sit out the election in November if their man doesn’t prevail.

Imagine being so safe and comfortable that you could stomach another four years of children being separated from their parents at the border and killed in detention, American citizens of color being harassed by immigration authorities, institutions being demolished, the rule of law turned into a dead letter and the liberal world order torn to shreds in the service of Vladimir Putin if the only alternative is voting for your second-best candidate. I’m not terribly well-versed in the rhetoric of the social-justice left, but I believe this is what they call “privilege”? Read more “Democrats Don’t Have to Take Sanders’ Delegate Complaints Seriously”

Why Democratic Party Officials Are Reluctant to Take Sides

Explainer

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Hillary Clinton Andrew Cuomo
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York attend a political event in New York City, April 4, 2016 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

You may remember that in 2016, we interpreted both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the United States through the prism of “the party decides” theory, which argues that party elites — including elected and party officials, interest group leaders and other partisan figures — coordinate before presidential nominating contests in order to help their preferred candidate win.

Or, as The Economist pithily summarized the argument: parties tell the electorate how to vote, rather than voters telling the party whom to support.

That obviously didn’t happen in the Republican Party, where elites failed to stop Donald Trump.

Democratic elites (everyone from the chair of the Democratic National Committee to local union bosses) did coalesce around Hillary Clinton, but many voters didn’t listen: 43 percent backed Bernie Sanders.

This year, public endorsements from Democratic Party figures are slower than usual, suggesting that — like Republicans four years ago — “the” party is reluctant to decide. Read more “Why Democratic Party Officials Are Reluctant to Take Sides”

Democratic Party Elites Worry Candidates Aren’t Up to the Task

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, August 27, 2014
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, August 27, 2014 (White House/Pete Souza)
  • Deval Patrick, the center-left former governor of Massachusetts, and a friend of former president Barack Obama, has entered the Democratic presidential primary.
  • Obama himself has warned candidates to “pay some attention to where voters actually are.”

    The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. They just don’t want to see crazy stuff.

  • Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a centrist, has filed paperwork in Alabama, which has an early cut-off date, just in case he decides to run.
  • Even Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in 2016, is not ruling out another bid, telling the BBC, “I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.”
  • Democratic Party officials have been slow to endorse candidates this year. Read more “Democratic Party Elites Worry Candidates Aren’t Up to the Task”

Republicans Won’t Allow Trump to Face Competition

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017
American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017 (ANG/Annie Edwards)

Remember when Trumpists were up in arms in 2016 about internal Republican attempts to deny their man the presidential nomination?

I defended such attempts at the time, arguing that Republicans had every right to use every method at their disposal to stop a candidate so patently unfit for high office and one who didn’t even share their views on foreign policy and trade. (Most Republicans have since come around to Trump’s views.)

But Donald Trump’s supporters saw an “establishment” plot and demanded that the “democratic” will of the Republican electorate be respected. (No matter that only 45 percent of primary voters supported Trump.)

Not anymore. Read more “Republicans Won’t Allow Trump to Face Competition”

Why It’s Fair Not to Treat Sanders Like the Democratic Frontrunner

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders takes part in a protest in Washington DC, November 17, 2016
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders takes part in a protest in Washington DC, November 17, 2016 (Lorie Shaull)

NBC’s political team asks if it is fair to treat Bernie Sanders as an insurgent rather than the legitimate frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, given his high name recognition and the fact that he has raised more money than the other candidates.

I think so. Read more “Why It’s Fair Not to Treat Sanders Like the Democratic Frontrunner”

Invisible Democratic Primary News

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren attends a meeting in Worcester, October 22, 2017
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren attends a meeting in Worcester, October 22, 2017 (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has formed an exploratory committee to run for president and is visiting the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • California senator Kamala Harris has closed her state campaign committee and is on a publicity tour for her new book.
  • Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are planning trips to Iowa.
  • Many in the media continue to advise Joe Biden against running, most recently The Boston Globe, The Economist, Vox and WGBH.
  • Independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is shaking up his staff to make it less male and white. Read more “Invisible Democratic Primary News”

Democrats’ Invisible Primary Underway

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
White House Washington
The South Portico of the White House in Washington DC, July 27, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons/Carlos Delgado)

The “invisible primary” in America’s Democratic Party is underway.

In this phase — between the most recent congressional elections and the first official announcements — presidential hopefuls quietly court donors, party bosses, friendly journalists and affiliated interest groups.

Here are some of the latest developments: Read more “Democrats’ Invisible Primary Underway”

Give Superdelegates More, Not Less, Power

Opinion

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016
Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016 (DNCC/Chris Frommann)

California, Illinois, New York and Texas have 30 percent of the American population between them. Yet because they are late in the primary calendar, they have almost no say in the selection of presidential candidates.

Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have only 3 percent of the population, yet because they are first in line to vote they have disproportionate power in the process. If a candidate fails to win at least one of the first three primary states, he or she usually drops out.

How is that democratic? Read more “Give Superdelegates More, Not Less, Power”

Establishment-Backed Candidates Prevail in Primaries

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco at the time, gives a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, October 3, 2008
Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco at the time, gives a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, October 3, 2008 (Charlie Nguyen)

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight reports that Democratic and Republican Party elites had a good night in America. In most of the primary elections held on Tuesday, establishment-backed candidates prevailed. Read more “Establishment-Backed Candidates Prevail in Primaries”